A Tabun is Born

Posted on March 27, 2011


For a long time, Ron has wanted to build a “tabun” in our yard.  Tabun isn’t exactly the most precise term for what he wants – but the common denominator between a traditional “tabun” and what we will make is that they are both wood-burning ovens fashioned from a mixture of local clay and straw.   

The impetus that propelled this project from the back shelf to the top of the agenda was the arrival of my friend Elissa for a month-long visit.  She is very anxious to see how the process so she can go home and build a tabun in the yard of her home in Pennsylvania. 

And so, we started this weekend in the information gathering stage.  On Saturday morning, we drove to visit our friend Mahmoud, in his country place outside the village of Tur’an.  There, he has a very fine tabun, and we wanted to have a good look at it – think about its dimensions and other characteristics. 





His tabun was built around 6 years ago and is holding up very nicely without any protection from the elements.  They use it to cook bread, the greens-filled turnovers known as “sambusak”, cast-iron pots of chicken with vegetables, and even a whole goat, filled with rice.  Nothing, Mahmoud assures us, tastes better than when it is cooked in a tabun. 

Afterwards, we sat on the porch and had black coffee with cardamom, icy-cold pomegranate juice, and chocolates from Syria, while Ron and Mahmoud drew sketches for how ours will look. 





When we got home, Ron marked out with stakes where the tabun will be positioned.  The next stage will be to pour a concrete base.  I will keep this blog posted…